Thursday, 8 February 2018

Announcing the On The Wire Pattern Club

While on Summer holiday in a beautiful part of New Zealand called Glenorchy this Summer, I couldn't help but fall in love with cute little birds called riflemen. They are a species of New Zealand Wrens and these tiny birds can often be seen in forests flitting around in groups of three or four.

I didn't take my computer on holiday with me, but when I got home, I sat down and quickly sketched a pattern. After having worked on secret projects for most of last year, it felt like a luxury to have a project that I could share without limitations, so I shared images of all my trial blocks on instagram. I wanted to show people that I really work at perfecting my patterns. There is thought and care put into the construction. I don't just draw the pattern and immediately send it to testers without sewing the pattern myself.

I sewed this particular pattern six times before I sent it off to be testers. Now I must admit that I don't usually sew a pattern quite this number of times, but it is a quick and easy pattern to sew and lots of different variations on pattern kept on popping into my head so I couldn't resist trying them all out.

My initial pattern was 6 inch, but while I was perfecting the construction of the block, I also tried it as a 12 inch pattern. I took a poll on instagram asking what size of block people wanted. The results were pretty inconclusive, so I decided to include both in the pattern.

While I was playing with the pattern, a few Brits commented that the pattern looked like a wren, but that its tail needed to point upwards. I also received a few polite requests from Australians who were keen for me to design a Fairy Wren pattern. Now I must admit that I tend to design what I want rather than what others request (this way, I can work on projects that I am passionate about and I am more likely to give my best work), but these weren't commissions and I loved the idea of a series of wrens all sitting next to each other.

So I hatched a plan.

A series of wren blocks was the result. There is the possibility for each of the wrens to sit on a wire, so you can create a quilt with a row of birds sitting on a telegraph wire.

Today I am launching the first of those wren patterns. I've put a lot into the pattern and I'm extremely proud of the result. The pattern contains the templates for:
  • A 6 inch left facing wren sitting on a rock
  • A 6 inch right facing wren sitting on a rock
  • A 6 inch left facing wren sitting on a wire
  • A 6 inch right facing wren sitting on a wire
  • A 12 inch left facing wren sitting on a rock
  • A 12 inch right facing wren sitting on a rock
  • A 12 inch left facing wren sitting on a wire
  • A 12 inch right facing wren sitting on a wire
Not only this, but the pattern is jam packed with diagrams, colouring sheets, a key to help you keep track of your fabrics and fabric requirements. In fact, this simple block pattern consists of 25 pages.
Those who are confident piecing tiny pieces can sew one of the 6 inch versions of the pattern. Those who are not so confident can start with the 12 inch version and move onto the 6 inch version as their skills develop.

There are two ways that you can buy. the pattern:

1. Buy the individual pattern. From my Etsy, Payhip or Craftsy store.

2. Sign up for the On the Wire Pattern Club. By signing up you will be emailed one wren pattern per month for five months. The first four patterns will be released as individual patterns and will contain a comparable amount of detail.  In the fifth month a bonus pattern will be sent to club subscribers. This final pattern will not be released as an individual pattern, the only way to receive it will be through the Pattern Club. You can sign up for the Pattern Club on Etsy, Payhip or Craftsy.

Knowing me, I have probably overlooked mentioning an important detail, so if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask. I will reply to your queries directly in this blog post.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Giveaway Winner

Just a very quick post today to announce that the winner of the book and Tula Pink Patch giveaway is Paula (bubbabean22 on instagram). As the winning post was one in which she tagged a friend, @fattycornersquilts   will also receive a small prize in the post from me.

Both winners have been contacted and were thrilled.

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway, it was lots of fun.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Animal Quilts Book Blog Hop- Day 1

When my son (my youngest child) started school in February 2016, it dawned upon me that I was reaching a crossroads. Unless I became more disciplined about quilting as a career, my days of staying at home and playing in my sewing room were numbered. I was approaching the moment where I would have to return to a proper grown up day job if I didn't take quilting more seriously.

So I decided to start collecting ideas for a book. Animal Quilts is the result. I took my time and made sure that I loved each and every idea that I put forward. Many designs were created, many were rejected.

I made a few key decisions right from the start.
  1. I wanted my designs to feature centre stage. Even though it might be impractical for printing purposes, I wanted to create a book of quilts, not a book of quilt blocks with instructions on how to turn these into cute pouches and cushions.
  2. I wanted the patterns to be BIG. I didn't want the quilts to consist of multiple repeats of the same block. I have a low attention span for sewing the same block over and over. I don't  mind doing it to perfect my design, but once the design is finished I like to move onto the next project.
  3.  The construction of the blocks was important to me. I spent a lot of time drawing, redrawing, and testing to make sure that everything would sew together as well as possible. I always feel that the better that I design a pattern, the more successfully you guys will be able to sew it. To me, designing paper pieced patterns is not just about drawing a series of lines, it's about drawing a series of lines that are easy to sew. What is the point of designing a stunning pattern if nobody can sew it together properly?
  4. I wanted the chance to share paper piecing tips in my book. There are many many tricks that I have learnt along the way and although I have shared many of these on my blog, I wanted to be able to share my latest thoughts in one place.
  5. I wanted to empower those who are scared of paper piecing. While the patterns in this book are not designed with beginners in mind, I strongly believe that once you master a few basics and discover a style of paper piecing that suits your personality, these patterns can be attempted by anyone. If you're an adventurous beginner, jump in with both feet and give yourself permission to make mistakes. If you are more cautious, start on simpler blocks, master the basics and then move onto the patterns in this book.
  6. While I really wanted to create a book of quilts, I wanted to offer people options for what they can do with the patterns. Most patterns in the book come complete with a number of suggestions as to different ways that you can use the pattern.

I will admit that it was tough keeping all the designs secret. I tend to be pretty impetuous in what I share on social media so I had to take a deep breathe each time that I felt like sharing and email friends instead.

In the very early days, my exact plan for the book changed a few times.  Initially it was going to be a book of black and white animals against colourful fractured backgrounds. The Panda and the Polar Bear designs date back to this initial version of the book. I quickly found this concept too limited and boring. I moved on.

My next plan was to work with animals from a specific area of the world, but again this was too limiting.

Finally I decided to just choose birds and animals that I liked. Some are requests from my children, others are animals that I've been wanting to design for a while. Some were challenging to design, others came together quickly. I guess that you could say that it's a bit of an eclectic mix, but I like it that way!
Over the next two weeks, a collection of my talented quilting friends will show you the wonderful quilts that they have made using patterns from my book. I've seen a few sneak peaks and I can tell you that  there are some really exciting projects to share. Make sure that you drop by their blogs to have a look. The schedule is as follows:

Monday 6th November – me
Tuesday 7th November – Annabel from Little Pincushion Studio 
Wednesday 8th November – Chris from Made by Chrissie D 
Thursday 9th November – Quilting Daily
Friday 10th November – Matthew from Mister Domestic 

Monday 13th November – Kate from Quilt with Kate 
Tuesday 14th November – Kristi from Schnitzel and Boo 
Wednesday 15th November – Angie from Gnome Angel 
Thursday 16th November – Paul aka Evildemondevildog 
Friday 17th November – Sarah from Sariditty

*** Please be aware that we are all scattered around the globe, so the exact time and date for posting may vary according to the time zone that each individual lives in.**


To round off this post, I thought it would be fun to have a giveaway. The winner of the giveaway will receive a signed copy of my book, a limited edition Tula Pink Frog Patch, a 12 inch add-a-quarter plus ruler and a mini charm pack of Violet Craft Palm Canyon fabric.

There are lots of opportunities to win. You can enter as many times as you wish. After the giveaway closes, I will collate all the names and pick a random winner.

I will close entries on 16th November at 10pm New Zealand Time (remember we are ahead of the rest of the world!).

The giveaway is open worldwide.

Do as many or as few of the following as you wish:
  1. leave a comment on this blog post telling me the first pattern that you want to sew from the book.
  2. Follow me on instagram and leave a comment on the prize picture post
  3. Follow me on instagram and tag a friend (or friends)who you think will be interested in the giveaway. (If the winning post is one tagging a friend, I will send them a copy of my new Pride and Joy paper pattern and an add a quarter ruler)
  4. Follow me on facebook and leave a comment on the giveaway prize post.
  5. Share the giveaway post on facebook publicly (I can only award prizes to entries that I can see).
I will do everything that I can to contact the winner, but if I have not heard from them within a week, I will draw a new winner.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Announcing Animal Quilts Blog Hop

I'm really excited to announce the talented line-up of quilters who have agreed to be part of the blog hop for my new book of foundation paper pieced patterns- Animal Quilts.

Monday 6th November – me
Tuesday 7th November – Annabel from Little Pincushion Studio 
Wednesday 8th November – Chris from Made by Chrissie D 
Thursday 9th November – Quilting Daily
Friday 10th November – Matthew from Mister Domestic 

Monday 13th November – Kate from Quilt with Kate 
Tuesday 14th November – Kristi from Schnitzel and Boo 
Wednesday 15th November – Angie from Gnome Angel 
Thursday 16th November – Paul aka Evildemondevildog 
Friday 17th November – Sarah from Sariditty

I must admit that I've seen a few sneak peaks of their work and I can tell you that there are some really exciting projects on the go.

See you back here on Monday as I kick off all the fun.

** Please note that the participants are spread around the globe. As such, the exact time and date that they post may vary slightly from the dates given above.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Lion Quilt

I'm going to start this post with a confession:

When I first started paper piecing, I was scared of printed fabric and top list of designers whose fabric I never thought I'd use was Kaffe Fassett. The bold prints, the high contrasts- it all just seemed too much. I was worried that the prints would interfere with the clear sharp lines of my paper pieced designs.

These days I have conquered my fears. I embrace the challenge of finding the perfect printed fabrics to sew with and I love the extra dimension that Kaffe Fassett's amazing and vibrant fabrics add to my sewing.

When I was given the opportunity to work with Kaffe Fassett's Artisan Fabrics in the new Red and Pink colourways, I couldn't resist!

My first impression on seeing the fabrics was that there were a couple of prints which were perfect for Lions manes. It seemed like a great opportunity for me to make a lion in preparation for my class at the New Zealand National Quilt Symposium.

The lion pattern is one that I designed a couple of years ago using Electric Quilt 7. Returning to it, I quickly realised that my first job was to update the pattern. I have learnt a lot since I initially released it and I wanted to improve the formatting of the pattern pieces and to present the diagrams in a manner that is more representative of my current patterns. If you have previously bought the lion pattern, you should now have access to the updated file.

Once the pattern was improved, I made the first lion. I was initially a bit cautious about the batik mane fabric, but I love how it worked together with the floral background and solid face.

I loved it, but still had a ton of fabric, so I picked another set of fabrics and made another lion.

At this stage, I had to stop and think. I knew that the logical thing to do would be to keep going and sew some more lions, but I have a low attention span for repetitive sewing and I knew that I would struggle with sewing another two lions.

I took the opportunity to play with layouts in EQ7. I tried two block quilt layouts. I tried 4 block layouts both with sashing and without sashing and finally accepted the inevitable, I needed to keep piecing lions.

The third lion went well. I wasn't initially sure if I had made a good decision for the mane fabric, but I love how the flowers work and I think that the contrast between the different aspects of the design is great.

The fourth lion was a bit struggle. I was chronically unsure about the fabrics- they are a lot more busy than I normally use and the repetition of sewing lions was beginning to get to me.

I kept working and got there in the end.
I was still unsure about this final lion when I went to the Canterbury Modern Quilt Group's monthly sew day, but I was amazed to find that everyone responded to this block the best!

On it's own, I think I would have dropped this block, but when put together with the other lions, he works well.

I had fun putting the quilt together and must admit that I really love the finished quilt. Leeanne Hopper- Quiltmekiwi did a great job on the quilting as always.

I am currently in the process of producing a printed paper pattern for this lion quilt, but I have a problem! I can't think of a decent name for it. Please help me, I'd love to hear your suggestions. If you provide a name that I love, I will send you a printed version of my pattern (when it is finished).


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